This Wednesday I will have lived half of my life without my mom in my life. Thursday and every other day that precedes will be days where I have lived more without my mom than with her. And you know what? That sucks. It sucks that from such a young age I was abandoned and mistreated by most influential caregiver a child should ever receive. It would make sense to be bitter and hate my mom, for so many of these ten years, deep down, I think I did. But as I grow and learn how to love people like my Father does, the less important resentment and bitterness and hatred becomes in my heart. Love has taken its place. Yesterday I found out my mom had similar symptoms to a stroke, but the doctors seemingly ruled out stroke and said its likely she has a brain tumor, but she needed a MRI to confirm. All of a sudden, I realized at this rate, the next time I see my mom could very well be at her funeral. But, I don’t want that. I don’t want the next time I see my mom in person to be at her deathbed, but I also don’t think I’m ready to see her now. Will I ever be ready though? More overwhelming thoughts fill my mind—death, funerals, cancer, brain tumor, surgery, chemo, illness, faithfulness. I choose to fixate on the latter. Faithfulness. He who has promised IS faithful, not WAS… He IS faithful. He has been faithful, and He will be faithful, and right now in this moment He IS faithful, even when I can’t seem to grasp the reality of what is at stake. And I choose to focus on that. I think of it like this, if the Lord was a surgeon (yes, He is a healer but let’s think of it in this analogy), this isn’t His first day on the job, this isn’t His first solo surgery. He has been practicing far longer than I have even been alive, and his success rate is 100%. If there was a doctor on this side of Heaven with stats like that, you best bet I’d fly all the way across the country to be seen by him. It’s not much different with the Lord. Because He is faithful and has never not been. He has been at this whole God thing much longer than I have been alive. His success rate can’t even be quantified because He is that big and intentional. We don’t have to travel to across the world to be seen by Him, because He sees us, right now, wherever we’re at, and is already at work in our present circumstances, proving Himself to be faithful… time and time again. And right now, all I have to cling to is the steadfastness of the Truth—He is faithful forevermore. He is for me. He is even for my mom. And whatever the doctor the doctors say, He is still faithful then.
Amen, amen, amen.
striving // christ for the nations
“There is no striving
There is no striving in your love
Freely you have given
Freely you have given to us
You have made us yours
You have called us daughters and sons
This is who you are
This is what your love has done
You have given everything my heart could ever need
And all you ask is I believe
And I am resting safe inside your promise to provide
And nothing could ever change your love
Your love for me, your love for me
You never ask that I earn Your affection
I could never earn something that’s free
I never have to fight for Your attention
Because Your eyes are ever upon me
You never ask that I earn your affection
I could never earn something that’s free
I never have to fight for your attention
Because your eyes are ever upon me”
I’m learning to be in pursuit of vulnerability is the best route I can be on in this season of life. Vulnerability is hard, it goes against everything we’ve made ourselves out to be, up until this time. It’s the raw, unfiltered, and the mostly messiest versions of ourselves. How can we say we’re truly ‘living our best life’ when we can’t even talk about the difficult things that got us to the apex. We can’t– at least not honestly. Vulnerability is as necessary as the air we breathe: to maintain quality friendships, as well as our relationship with God. Satan can be so cunning to trick us into thinking what we’ve done and what’s been done to us is too much or too dirty to share. Our minds begin to harbor these events and, in turn, we feel the weight of shame and guilt in its fullest capacity. But friend, you and I were not created to live a life bound to the weight of the past. We are a chosen people, destined for freedom. Freedom is our anthem… not shame or guilt. This gift of freedom seems so vast and impossible to attain, trust me. But throughout these past four months, little by little, the Lord is teaching me what it means to be free indeed.
I remember being so frustrated with all the people around me declaring, “freedom is yours,” you just have to accept it and walk in it. Though said in good heart, there was something they happened to miss. Yes, freedom is ours and we must accept and walk in this gift the Father intended on us living in; but it is truth that breeds freedom. We cannot go from bound to free until we undo the shackles, and that cannot happen until we recognize and acknowledge we are a bound and broken people. We must illuminate what Satan loves to keep in the dark, our past mistakes and unfortunate circumstances—the real us, the broken us. Truth really does breed freedom, friend. It wasn’t until I started talking to people about my broken family, sexual trauma, and periodic porn usage that I finally began to understand what walking in freedom truly looks like. Neither I nor you were meant to carry the weight of these burdens alone. We were created for freedom. My voice shuttered, but I spoke. I felt compelled to keep to myself and not throw the weight of my burdens onto others, but I threw them. My words thrown into an atmosphere with nineteen other girls hearing the rawest and messiest version of me… I couldn’t undo what had been spoken. The atmosphere in the room changed, the heaviness I once felt in the deepest depths of my chest began to lighten and I could finally breathe. This heavy-burdened soul was being undone by the undoer himself, and right there, in that moment, I was becoming the best version of myself.
Fostering vulnerability is daunting and, in thought, makes me nauseous. But this where freedom lies. Freedom is found in speaking hard truths that make people uncomfortable, but most importantly, these hard truths remind people that they are not alone. Freedom is found where you speak it into existence. I am no longer bound to the weight of my past—my friend, neither are you.
Free indeed, truly.
I recently graduated from high school and the summer after my senior year is finally winding down as Target’s back-to-school commercials remind me it’s time for a new school year. I’m moving five and half hours away out of my hometown comfort zone and as the countdown begins until move-in day I’m terrified and doubting every ounce of confidence I’ve ever had about this decision. Change is hard. This season has been beautiful- Jesus has been so good to me. I have seen the kindness of the Father abound in every new friendship and memory made in this transitional period. He is good.
It’s so bittersweet. To leave everything I’ve ever known as home and venture out of my comfort zone into the unknown. The unknown requires faith, being confident that even if I don’t see security and comfort yet, the comfort giver is ready to embrace me when I choose to let go of what once was for what will be. Because friends, C.S. Lewis was right when he said, “what lies ahead is far, far better than anything that we ever leave behind.” So here I am clinging to truth that He who started a good work in me will carry it out to completion because His plans are to give me a hope and future. His word is peace and life-giving. It changes me. It changes my demeanor; my entire mindset. It changes everything.
As I release my grip of the security and joy found in this season I will cling onto the goodness of God, knowing that security and joy lie on the other side of surrender.
Jesus, thank you for this small town that has given me the best years of my life, the best friendships, adventures, and memories. I have tasted and seen your goodness and as I release my grip on my control-freak nature, help me to see that you provide in every aspect I could ever need, you are my provider and you’ve provided all along so I will see you do it again but this time in a new way. I am hopeful for the future that what lies ahead is better than what I’m leaving behind. Remind me that you are for me, and your plans are to prosper for my good. Even when I don’t see it, you are good and always working on my behalf.
Here’s to new memories, new seasons, more coffee, & the future-